A guide to everything on your ballot
Garfield County voters will decide two contested races for county-level offices in addition to a range of local ballot questions in the Nov. 4 general election while also helping to determine the outcome of the high-profile races for Colorado governor, a U.S. Senate seat and several other state offices and statewide ballot initiatives.
County Clerk and Recorder Jean Alberico on Tuesday mailed out a total of 27,189 ballots to registered county voters. The ballots should arrive by the end of the week.
This fall’s election will be conducted by mail ballot, as has been the case for the past several elections. Voters can either return completed ballots by mail or drop them off at any of the ballot drop-off sites located in each of the six Garfield County municipalities.
Voters not wanting to mail their ballots or put them in an unattended drop box may also bring their ballots to a designated Voter Service Polling Center (VSPC) prior to the election or on Election Day and cast their votes on site, Alberico explained.
For a list of VSPC locations and ballot drop sites, visit http://www.garfield-county.com.
Anyone still wishing to register to vote or change registration information online can do so until Oct. 27 at http://www.GoVoteColorado.com. Voter registrations are also accepted at VSPC sites through Election Day.
Garfield County races
The countywide ballot includes the contested race for the District 1 county commissioner seat between incumbent Republican Tom Jankovsky and Democratic candidate Michael Sullivan.
Most all of the candidates for other county offices, including sheriff, coroner, assessor, clerk and recorder, and treasurer, are uncontested this election.
However, there is a choice for the elected office of county surveyor between incumbent Scott Aibner, a Republican, and Sam Phelps, the former office holder from 1992-2003 whom Aibner replaced 11 years ago. Phelps petitioned onto the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate this year after an unsuccessful bid as a write-in candidate in 2010.
The county surveyor, according to Colorado statute, is responsible for representing the county in any boundary disputes, notifying the county attorney of any unsettled disputes or boundary discrepancies, and filing surveys or other records for any work authorized by county commissioners.
Uncontested county candidates seeking re-election this year include Clerk and Recorder Alberico, a Democrat, along with Sheriff Lou Vallario and Assessor Jim Yellico, both Republicans.
Republican Karla Bagley is the lone candidate seeking election as county treasurer. She is in line to replace Democrat Georgia Chamberlain, who will be retiring in January after many years in office.
Likewise, Republican Rob Glassmire is uncontested in his bid for county coroner, after he won the party’s nomination last spring over incumbent Trey Holt.
Several state and local judicial retention questions are also on this fall’s ballot, including for 9th District Judge Denise Lynch and Garfield County Court judges Paul Metzger and Jonathan Pototsky.
Voters in the cities of Glenwood Springs and Rifle, the Silt Water Conservancy District and Garfield School District 16 will also be deciding on a range of local issues.
Glenwood voters are being asked in Ballot Question 2A whether to give the city permission to sell the former library property at 413 Ninth St. City Council has not decided if in fact it wants to sell the property, but would like to have that option as it continues to review proposals for use of the now-vacant building.
Meanwhile, Garfield District 16, which oversees public schools in Parachute/Battlement Mesa, is going back to voters for another attempt at passing a general fund mill levy override after a similar measure was rejected two years ago.
Ballot Question 3A seeks $1,171,000 annually for wage increases to help recruit and retain teachers and to make upgrades in student curriculum.
The west-end school district is also asking in Ballot Question 3B to increase its debt by $30 million to pay for a range of facility improvements, including deferred maintenance on school buildings and athletic fields, plus technology upgrades.
Also on the ballot for Rifle voters is Ballot Issue 2B, seeking a 5 percent excise tax on retail marijuana sales, as allowed under Colorado Amendment 64, while the Silt Water Conservancy District asks voters in Ballot Issue 5A to exempt the district from spending limits under Colorado’s so-called TABOR amendment.
Regional and Statewide election
Western Slope voters will also be deciding the Third Congressional District race between incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton of Cortez and Democrat Abel Tapia of Pueblo. Unaffiliated candidate Tisha Casida and Libertarian Travis Mero also appear on the ballot.
Third District voters will also decide on the region’s representative to the state Board of Education, between incumbent Republican Marcia Neal of Grand Junction and Democrat Henry Roman of Pueblo.
Garfield County is one of three counties, along with Rio Blanco and Moffat, that will decide whether to give Republican state Rep. Bob Rankin of Carbondale another two years in the Legislature. His only opponent this year is Libertarian Sacha Mero of Craig.
The Nov. 4 ballot also includes the race for governor and lieutenant governor between the Democratic incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia, and the Republican ticket of Bob Beauprez and Jill Repella. Also appearing on the ballot for governor are several third-party and unaffiliated candidates, Green and Libertarian party tickets.
The same multi-candidate dynamic is true in the races for one of Colorado’s two U.S. Senate seats between the two major party candidates, incumbent Democrat Mark Udall and Republican Cory Gardner; the secretary of state race between Democrat Joe Neguse and Wayne Williams; the state treasurer race between Republican Walker Stapleton and Democrat Betsy Markey; and the race for attorney general between Democrat Don Quick and Republican Cynthia Coffman. Quick and Coffman both have served as deputies in the office, with Coffman in that role now.
On a statewide level, voters are also being asked whether to retain Colorado Supreme Court Justices Brian D. Boatright and Monica M. Marquez, as well as state Appellate Court Judges Terry Fox and Alan M. Loeb.
State ballot questions
Finally, local voters will also help decide four statewide ballot questions, including proposed Amendment 67 (defining personhood to include unborn children); Amendment 68 (expanded casino gambling at established horse race tracks, taxes from which would help fund K-12 education in the state); Proposition 104 (requiring salary and benefit negotiations between local public school boards and teachers unions to be subject to state open meetings laws); and Proposition 105 (requiring labeling for genetically modified foods).
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Former Carbondale trustee Katrina Byars said she wants to bring a voice of environmental sustainability to the commission, and believes her opponent has served long enough.